Book: Breeding Stations
Author: Chris T. Kat
Genre: Gay Romance / Gay Science Fiction
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
I found this an enjoyable, action-packed story, with more danger and excitement than I expected (also less sex, but that was okay). I think the strongest aspects of the story was the world-building, with some gruesome and horrific beasts on the planet that Commander Berit and his team must explore, and in the development of the Nadisc, an alien race who seem to be drawn to human mates.
I wasn’t crazy about Berit’s character–he was so childish sometimes that I had a hard time believing he would ever have made it to commander. I liked all the Nadisc characters, however.
Good for some romping fun and also interesting sex-acts with prehensile tails.
Series: A Strain Novel
Author: Amelia Gormley
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Genre: M/M Dystopian
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
It’s been a while since I posted my last review. My reading has really slowed down this year, as I’ve been focusing on writing and editing things, getting ready for publishing. The first Strain novel I gave a 5 star rating, because I thought it was an incredible book. The universe that Amelia created was horrifying and yet fascinating, as was the dynamic she created between the main characters, struggling to survive in a post-apocalyptic world of zombie-like humans infected with what is affectionately known as the Rot.
I enjoyed Juggernaut, but not as much. This novel takes place before the three viruses basically wipe out humanity, showcasing a rather corrupt and decadent society of institutionalized prostitution and religious zealots. There were strong parts of the story, including a traumatic experience Nico has with one of his clients and the interactions between himself and General McClosky who is one of the people responsible for the Alpha virus, the virus that started it all. The book takes the reader through the entire epidemic, showing the devastation and humanity’s efforts to save itself through a compound in Colorado.
It was there that the novel started to lose steam. There was a lot of time apart for the characters, dealing with politics in two different societies: the Juggernauts, and the human refugee camp. I think it was this separation that made the book not quite as compelling as the first Strain novel. It was still a good book (be aware that this is a two parter, so their story is not completed by the end). It just wasn’t as much as I had expected. The novel had a lot of time spent with the world setup at the beginning, and a reorganization of society at the end. I would consider this more of a sci-fi novel than a romance. This isn’t a bad thing. It’s just a matter of what readers should expect.
I’m still looking forward to the conclusion of Nico and Zach’s story in Bane.
Title: In Distress
Author: Caethes Faron
Publisher: Branwen Press
Genre: M/M Science Fiction
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
This was enjoyable–there just isn’t enough M/M science fiction out there, and as a big fan of science fiction, I protest. The plot was a bit simple, which was why it was 3.5 and not 4 stars. In a society where some past event has supposedly (we’re never really sure if it’s true) mutated the human genome, children are categorized as either Alphas, which are true humans, Betas, and Zeds, which are considered sub-human and are enslaved, having no rights whatsoever. Add in scary collars that will kill you if you stray, and evil Geneticists, and you’ve got a good party going. I liked the addition of a BDSM element as well. Actually, the BDSM element was one of the best parts of the book. I would have liked a bit more tension and action, but it was interesting having an “alpha” male be in fact a submissive masochist.
I wish I had more to say about this book–I hesitated even posting a review on it, but I thought the premise was interesting enough that it deserved a mention. The relationship parts were interesting. I just think there was dead time that lessened the impact of the novel. I’d love to see these two again, however, embroiled in a full out rebellion against the dystopian society.
Title: Dark Space
Author: Lisa Henry
Genre: M/M science fiction
Rating: 4.5 stars
This book was really well done. I don’t say that often about books–they have to hit me in the gut and stay with me afterwards. This one did. The author really wrings things out for the main character, making a happy ending seem impossible. There’s also some very creepy con-non-con things that go on in the book, raising the question of how much of a person’s sexuality is innate, and how much can be influenced by environmental factors.
What factors, you say? Well the basic premise of the book is that a young first aid tech on a space station inadvertently forms a mental and physical bond with a pilot who’s been captured and returned by an alien race. They share thoughts, dreams, and even heart beats. And the pilot is gay.
So some could see this as a GFY book, but it’s not really. It’s about a bond that becomes so deep that in the end it doesn’t matter if a person is gay or GFY or what. But there are a lot of things with consent that are played with. I thought Ms. Henry did an actual job of skirting the line of creepy without falling into the deep end.
I liked the main character, how bitter and flippant he was. The tension was high throughout the book, which was excellent. If you like M/M science fiction, definitely put this one on your “To Read” list.
Book: The Slave Catcher
Author: Lilia Ford
Publisher: Lillia Ford Romance LLC
Genre: MM romance / science fiction
Heat level: Hot for a novella!
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I’ve enjoyed science fiction ever since I was young. So it’s always a treat to me to find mm romance with a science fiction world and subplot. I enjoyed this novella, enough that I hope to see Ford return to this world with more stories in the future.
The beginning takes a little to establish the world, which some readers found hard to get into. But for those who have read a lot of science fiction, I actually thought Ford did a good job setting up the world and the different races coming together there with their different beliefs and practices. Sam Beron is sort of set up as a kind of Sam Spade in the tradition of the old film noir detective stories. While his people abhor the idea of slavery, he finds himself having to hunt for one for what he considers the most dangerous race, the Borothians.
The slaves and the bonds with their masters was brilliantly rendered, and every character seem well-rounded, which is hard to do in shorter fiction. The end scene was hot and I loved all the sexual tension throughout the story. For fans of both mm romance and science fiction, I recommend this book.
Title: Memory Kick
Author: C.M. Torrens
Genre: M/M sci-fi
Heat level: Medium
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I haven’t read too many m/m sci-fi novels, but I like the combination of space stations, psychedelic drugs, and neural rewiring that Torrens features in this book. Qusay is a suitably vulnerable lost waif with an interesting mixture of bravado, sassiness and deep down, anger and frustration. Cameron, the bounty hunter, is pretty much an every man but with that inner heroic need to protect and rescue. When he finds Qusay peddling on the streets with no memory of his past, he just has to dig into the mystery.
I picked up this book for two reasons–one, it looked interesting and I love the idea of m/m sci fi. Two, the main characters are a close mirror to the ones in my own book, and I was curious to see how another writer portrayed the bounty hunter/whore combo. I’m glad that it’s very different.
I think one of my only nitpicks would be that though Cameron is supposedly a bounty hunter, not once did I get to see him actually doing anything related to his job. He might as well have been a captain or a merchant or a cop or pretty much anything. It’s a small, nit, however. Overall the action and relationships carried me along, and I enjoyed it. The ending was quite thrilling.
The plot took some interesting twists that made the reader question who a person really is when they remember two different lives. I like how Torrens played with this development and how it eventually resolved itself.
Definitely recommend for those who love a good space opera.
Book: Break and Enter
Authors: Rachel Haimowitz and Aleksandr Voinov
Genre: m/m sci fi/thriller (gay romance)
So I’m a teensy bit biased since I know the writer and I’ve always loved her stuff. That being said, I really enjoyed this book.
This isn’t a long read–I’m estimating here, but maybe 50,000 words? Though it wasn’t long, it did feel like a complete story. Cyke, a human with cyborg implants (including his eye–ouch) is rescued repeatedly from near death by an EMT named Bear. There’s a lot of hurt/comfort, some good tension in breaking into a high security building, and even a torture session.
The violence is fairly graphic, including details of broken ribs and digging into a broken arm. The sex is graphic as well, but is actually more tender, particularly in contrast to their violent lifestyles. I liked the sci fi elements and futuristic feel. Cyke in particular has a good inner voice. There’s a lot of sarcasm and irony, and a little bit of humor. I’m curious to know more about his history and background, much of which is left in shadows.
I’d recommend this to those who like their m/m with a harder, more masculine edge. I imagine this appeals to both the two main audiences for gay romance, the bi/straight women as well as gay men.